Imagine this. It’s the Atlanta rainy season. It’s hot, humid, and pouring down rain as it’s wont to do in the summer months. It’s been raining heavily. You get home from work one day, eager to escape into the air conditioning after a muggy ride home, and burst inside. You put down your things and wander into the kitchen for dinner…
Only to find that your kitchen looks an awful lot like a bathtub. There’s water everywhere. The kitchen flooded while you were at work, and you’re looking at a lot of damage.
Okay, you think. I’ll get on the phone and call my insurance company. So you do. You dial them up and explain what’s going on…and then they break the news.
Flooding isn’t covered in standard homeowners and renters policies.
You stare at your kitchen in dismay.
There’s a way to avoid the situation of trying to figure out how you’re going to afford all of those costly repairs and replacements. And that’s flood insurance.
What’s flood insurance?
Flood insurance is an additional coverage that you can purchase to protect your home and your belongings from damages or losses related to flooding. Since flooding is not covered under most home insurance policies, you have to purchase it separately.
What does it cover?
As we mentioned above, flood insurance protects the home itself and your personal belongings. You do, however, have to make sure that you have insurance for both the structure and the contents of your home – it’s important to make sure that everything’s covered, and normally you have to purchase the contents coverage separately. Taking a home inventory is a great way to make sure that you have enough coverage.
Flood insurance also covers:
- Furnaces, water heaters, and central AC units
- Cleanup of flood debris
- Electrical and plumbing
Keep in mind that not all water damage is considered “flooding.” For a loss to be considered flooding, there has to have been two acres worth of flooding or two homes that have been affected (one of which is yours) from either tidal or inland waters or rapid and unusual accumulation. Basically, that means that there’s a lot of water on land where there’s usually not a lot of water.
Where can I get flood insurance in Atlanta?
Flood insurance is only available through the National Flood Insurance Program, but you have to buy it from an agent. You can’t go directly to the NFIP and buy it yourself. And your community has to participate in the NFIP in order for you to be able to get flood insurance. Talk to your agent to see if you participate.
What if I don’t live in a high-risk flooding area?
You can still buy flood insurance even if you don’t live in a high-risk area. You never know when a summer flash flood could hit your home. Keep in mind that according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), 20% of all flooding claims are from low or medium-risk homes. Floods are actually the most common weather-related disasters in the US. Plus, the damage from just an inch of water can exceed $20,000. Yikes.
What if I rent my Atlanta home?
You can still purchase flood insurance for your belongings. Insuring the structure itself is up to the owner of the property – they take that responsibility in their own hands, and they have to decide if they want flood insurance or not.
Isn’t there FEMA aid for flooding disasters?
Well, yes and no. FEMA aid only kicks in if the president declares a formal emergency situation. And even then it’s in the form of a loan that you’ll have to repay (with interest.) If there is no FEMA aid being offered for your situation, you’re out of luck.
With flood insurance, you’re protected even if your personal flood disaster isn’t declared as a formal one. So long as your loss is a covered one, you’ll get help from insurance. (This is an important point – keep in mind that not all water damage is considered flood damage. To give you a general idea of what flood policies look like and cover, the NFIP provides this brochure.)
A flood watch was just issued for my area for the next week or so. Can I buy flood insurance and be good to go?
You can buy the insurance…but it won’t do you much good for the potential flood that’ll happen in the next week. Flood insurance policies take effect 30 days after they’re bought.
Now, if you have to get flood insurance because your lender requires it for you to get a loan, or to increase, extend, or renew an existing loan, don’t worry. There’s no waiting period for that situation.
Am I required to have flood insurance?
Not necessarily. If you live in a high-risk area, your lender might require that you have it. They want to protect their investment. It really depends on what area you live in and how prone that area is to flooding.
Hopefully we were able to answer some of the questions you might have about flood insurance. Your home is valuable, so consider securing your peace of mind with a flood insurance policy today. If you have any further questions about flood insurance, please don’t hesitate to ask. We’d be happy to help you with any of your insurance needs. If you want to get a free quote on your Atlanta home insurance, we can do that, too!